Kevorkian Is Sentenced But Not Silenced

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Dr. Death will no longer be making house calls. On Tuesday, Judge Jessica Cooper sentenced Dr. Jack Kevorkian to 10 to 25 years behind bars for the second-degree murder of Thomas Youk, a 52-year-old man ravaged by Lou Gehrig’s disease whom Kevorkian killed by lethal injection last September. The judge also denied bond to the 70-year-old Kevorkian while he appeals his conviction. Said Judge Cooper sternly, “You had the audacity to go on national television, show the world what you did and dare the legal system to stop you. Well, sir, consider yourself stopped.” Clearly, says TIME Midwest correspondent Julie Grace, Judge Cooper, a liberal jurist who has grown increasingly conservative on the bench, wanted to send a message to Kevorkian: “She wanted to let him know the buck stops here and that the state of Michigan will no longer tolerate this kind of activity.”

But don't count the doctor out just yet. Expect Kevorkian, his legal advisers and his supporters to send a message back: Grace reports that “almost from the minute the verdict came down last month, his advisers have been planning a grassroots letter-writing and lobbying campaign to get the conviction overturned on appeal.” Though the appeal will be argued on the law, of course, it will be enveloped with as much emotion and outpouring of support as can be mustered from Kevorkian’s very loyal backers. Will the passion lead Kevorkian to carry through on his threat to starve himself in prison to publicize his cause? “You can expect anything from Kevorkian, but starvation now seems unlikely,” says Grace. “He wants to make a long-term impact. That won’t happen if he dies in 30 days.”